SINGAPORE: A senior Qatari official said on Sunday his country will not be dragged into any conflict with Iran.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Khalid Al Attiyah told an international security conference in Singapore that Qatar has “a lot of differences” with Iran but it does not mean “we go and fuel a war” in the region.

“Is it wise to call the United States and to call Israel to go and fight Iran? ... Whether any third party is trying to push the region or some country in the region to start a war in Iran, this will be very dangerous,” he said.

He did not name any party but could be referring to Iran’s rival Saudi Arabia, which has also led a blockade of Qatar with its Persian Gulf allies since June last year, accusing Doha of supporting extremists and refusing to cut ties with Tehran.

“Iran is next door. We should call Iran, put all the files on the table and start to discuss to bring peace rather than war,” he said in a speech.

Responding to a question whether Qatar’s air bases could be used to launch air strikes on Iran, al-Attiyah said that his country was not a “fan of war” and suppor­ted engagement and dialogue.

Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2018